Texas recently received its annual obesity report card from Trust for America’s Health. Texans’ grade? "F," and not as in "fit."
Obesity trends are heading in the wrong direction in our state and country. Last year, adult obesity rates increased in 23 states, including Texas; we are the 14th most obese state in the nation. Our adult obesity rate is hovering close to 28 percent. Obesity and overweight rates for Texas children 10 to 17 years old are just over 32 percent.
Why are Texans so obese? Are we really eating more and exercising less? The short answer is yes. According to Trust for America’s Health, adults consume about 300 more calories a day than they did back in 1985, and 60 percent of adults are not active enough to achieve any health benefits.
The good news is the Texas Department of Agriculture and our partners have created a blueprint for success. It started by setting nutritional standards higher than current USDA requirements for school lunches, breakfasts and snacks. But clearly, more work is needed to make healthy choices the norm.
Remember how common the 3 R’s became - reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic? We need to make the 3E’s of Healthy Living - Education, Exercise and Eating Right - just as common. Education teaches you to live healthy; exercise makes you more fit; and eating the right diet helps you feel better.
It takes all of us working together to battle obesity and reinvent our living, learning and work environments to encourage and reinforce healthy eating choices. The best answers to this crisis will not come from the government. Our agencies can shine the light on the good principles found in the 3E’s of Healthy Living, but each of us as individuals must decide to live by them. To learn more, visit www.squaremeals.org.
We want that next report card to read A for "absolutely healthy!"